Two under Two

Motherhood

Recently a sweet friend of mine encouraged me to “share the journey along the way”. Shortly after that conversation, I sat down to write this blog post- partially for her, partially for you readers, but mostly for myself.

I love this blog. I love having these awesome “aha!” moments of mommy hood and sharing them, in hopes it’ll help another mommy out. I wait until I feel like I’ve mastered (or at least have decent experience in 😅) a certain area of raising littles and then write it out here for the world to read! But to be honest, I haven’t had many of those “aha” moments with two under two. Let’s face it-two babies is HARD. Some days I’m feeding one baby in my arms while rocking the other in a bouncer with my foot and I think I’m killing it. Then the next day we sit on the couch for hours watching a Disney movie because I don’t have the energy for much else.

But even in the midst of the chaos, there have been moments that I have little revelations. Little moments where I think “this is what parents really need to hear.” So I’m here to tell you what I needed to know myself.

1. Give Yourself Grace

Don’t feel like you have to have it all together when people see you. You just had a baby. Not long after your first baby, mind you. Your body is still healing. Emotionally, you’re still adjusting. You’re not expected to be the mom wearing makeup, going to the gym, and baking cookies for the holiday party. The time for that will come. For now, focus on getting as much rest as you can. Bond with your new baby and cuddle as much as time will allow.

2. Remind Yourself It’s Just a Phase

This time around, the phrase “it goes by so fast” has so much more meaning. With your first child you hear it repeatedly, but the weight of it doesn’t quite sink in until their first birthday where you’re left wondering where all the time went.

On the days when your toddler is having tantrum after tantrum, the baby won’t let you put him down, and you barely get enough sleep to function, remember that it’s just a phase. Three days from now, your toddler will learn new words to communicate her feelings. The baby will learn to self-soothe. And you might get lucky enough to get an 8-hour stretch of sleep at night too! So much changes in a matter of a few days. Take a deep breath and remember that.

3. Cut Corners Where You Can

Don’t try to do it all. If it’s stressing you out, find a way to make it less stressful. If it’s the dishes, use paper plates for a little while. If you can’t manage to get dinner together while taking care of two kids, buy some frozen meals.

The family will adjust.

What’s more important is your mental health and well-being. If there’s something that can be done to make your life a teensy bit easier, you deserve to do it.

4. Sit Down and Play Tea Party for the 500th Time

When all else fails, drop everything else and sit down to play. What I learned is that when the kids are crying and I can’t figure out what they need, it’s most likely my attention. So put the work down and be present with them for a little while. Not only will it make the crying stop, but forgetting your responsibilities for a short time can actually do you some good.

Time is truly a thief. So embrace those tiny moments (and tiny humans) as much as you can.

My Second Birth Story

Motherhood

It’s true what they say- every baby and every pregnancy is different from the other. With London, my water broke and while it was a small leak, it was clear that I was in labor and we would be having a baby. This time around, it was a little different.

I started experiencing what’s called “prodromal labor” in the weeks leading up to my due date. I was having regular, painful contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart. I went into triage about 4 times, thinking I was in labor. They would monitor me, check my cervix, and determine that there was no change. I was 3cm dilated already by 37 weeks, but my cervix wasn’t changing with the contractions. Each time we were sent home was a disappointment.

During each visit with my OB, she was surprised that I still hadn’t given birth! I was even more dilated every week that I went in. By 39 weeks, I was 4.5cm dilated and 70% effaced. We decided to try a membrane sweep to help speed things along. That night, I woke up to painful contractions again, but I didn’t think much of it since I had been having false labor contractions for weeks. I waited to see if they got more intense, but by morning, they had pretty much disappeared. By this point I was so tired and so ready to have this baby. I spent the afternoon walking the neighborhood to see if it would help start anything. I did lose more of my mucus plug, but still no (strong enough) contractions.

That night I woke up yet again to pretty painful contractions. I wasn’t hopeful, but my mom encouraged me to go into triage to at least have a cervix check. I was told that if I was at a 5, it is considered active labor and they would have to admit me. When we got in, the nurse checked me and determined I was only 1cm dilated. I was so confused because my OB told me I was 4.5 just two days earlier. I waited to be monitored and checked again after an hour. This time a second nurse came in and said she agreed that I was 1.5cm. I don’t know if it was the hormones, the exhaustion, or a mixture, but I was very frustrated and insisted on a doctor performing another cervix check because of the discrepancy. Thank God I did, because the doctor came and determined I was indeed 5cm dilated. He called my OB down to check me herself and she said I was actually 7cm dilated and admitted me right away! It was all so confusing and shocking, but I was just relieved to finally have the baby and be done with labor.

The rest of the day went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped for. I was able to get an epidural and it worked wonderfully. I was admitted at 9:30am and was ready to push by 3:00pm. I pushed for about 40 minutes and realized something was off by the number of people in the room and the fact that baby still was not out. I later learned that baby was much bigger than expected and had gotten stuck behind my pelvic bone. During the last push, one doctor had to assist by pushing down on my stomach while my OB pulled baby by the shoulders. Elias Ezekiel was born 11lbs even. Other than a small fracture, he had no health complications and Q was able to cut the cord. We were able to do immediate skin to skin and all of my prayers were answered about an easy and “normal” vaginal delivery.

I am still so thankful for an amazing doctor who always had mine and baby’s best interests in mind. We have spent the last month adjusting to our new family of 4 and loving every minute. London is the sweetest big sister and is obsessed with her baby brother. Christmas truly came early for us this year 🥰

How to Get your Baby to Sleep through the Night

Motherhood

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This is the topic I get the most questions on when talking to other mamas. I don’t consider myself an expert in sleep training, but since London has been sleeping through the night since she was 5 months old, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade. 

1. Get your baby on a consistent schedule

This is helpful for life in general. When you have a routine, even if it’s just a morning and bedtime routine, your baby knows what’s coming and responds more positively because it’s familiar to them. I read Babywise, and while I didn’t follow it completely, I used it as a backbone to creating my schedule with London. (If you’re interested in what that looks like, keep an eye out for a new post coming!) And if you’re the type B person that hates planning everything out, no worries. At least create a short bedtime routine that you can commit to doing with your baby on a nightly basis. It can be as short as singing a song and tucking them in. Anything that will let them know it’s time for bed. 

2. Move your baby to their room

This is my biggest tip for getting your baby to sleep through the night. You’ve gotta cut the cord, mama. It wasn’t until we listened to our pediatrician and moved london to her room that we finally got a good night’s rest. And we were amazed because she did too! It’ll feel weird at first and you’ll probably be awake staring at the monitor the entire first night. But once you get through that initial sad moment, you’ll be happier to get some sleep. 

3. If you don’t want them to cry, don’t let them cry

I think this is a common misconception when it comes to sleep training. People think sleep training means you have to let your baby “cry it out”. This isn’t true, however! If you’re totally against the cry it out method, you can definitely still sleep train, it will just take a little longer. This is what we chose to do, because I couldn’t handle hearing London cry for hours! The key is to put your baby down to bed when they’re drowsy, but still awake. I would wait until she was dozing off in my arms, then gently put her down and leave the room. If they start to cry, gently soothe them, and repeat as often as needed. It may take a while, but the crying should become shorter and shorter until they eventually fall asleep. By the third night, she was going to sleep without crying at all!

4. Experiment with bedtimes

You know the saying- every baby is different. Some people will tell you you’re crazy if your baby is awake past 7:00pm, while others will insist you should keep them up until 11:00pm. As with everything, you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you and your babe.

For me personally, I like to have some time to myself in the morning to clean, make phone calls, etc. So I knew I didn’t want London to wake up at the crack of dawn. We started with a 9:30pm bedtime and she would sleep through the night until about 8:30am. This worked great for us! As she got a little older, we had to make a few adjustments because we noticed her getting sleepy earlier. So now she goes to bed at 8:30pm and wakes at about 8am. It’s all about paying attention to your child’s needs and what seems to make them happy, then going from there.

On that same note, before you try to sleep train your little one, make sure they’re ready for that step. If your baby is under 4 months and still needing those nighttime feedings, definitely wait until they are no longer dependent on that. I know it feels like those 3am nursing sessions will never end, but they will. Don’t rush it, mama! I hope these tips help when the time is right.

Surviving the Newborn Stage

Motherhood

Bringing our first child home from the hospital was probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking feeling I’ve ever felt. And now that she is 4.5 months old, I can actually say: WE DID IT. We survived. And it was harder than anyone ever told me it would be!

Not much will make it feel easy perse, but I do have some trips that might help out if you feel like you’re drowning in helplessness!

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1. People will offer help. SAY YES

You know how you normally decline help in effort to be polite? Don’t do that! Having a baby is hard in so many ways and good people that understand that want to help you. We had neighbors dropping off take out, friends taking our dog out while we were in the hospital, and of course people bringing an endless supply of diapers. It was SO nice to not have to worry about those sort of things while I was healing and bonding with our new baby. 10/10 would recommend!

2. Take turns being on baby duty

I feel like I will get some criticism for this because a lot of people believe the mom should do everything for the baby (*eye roll*). However, this worked wonders for me and Q. London would not sleep AT ALL at night for the first month and saying it was exhausting is a major understatement. We came up with a plan to split the night in half: he would stay up from 12am-4am and I would be up with her from 4am-8am. This way we would at least get 4 hours of sleep a night. Of course this only works if you are pumping or formula feeding, but I am all for giving dad some breastmilk in a bottle and giving him the chance to bond too!

3. Keep notes with any important information

I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, but our babe had some eating issues in the beginning. Every time we visited the pediatrician, we were given a ton of new information and tips on what we should try/not try. It was overwhelming trying to remember everything. I started a note on my phone and eventually put it up on the fridge, that way I didn’t have the added pressure of memorizing everything. Learning how to take care of a new baby was enough and I didn’t need the extra work.

4. Find joy in the little accomplishments

If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna want to be a natural at being a parent and expect everything to come easily. It most likely won’t (and if it does, I envy you). Don’t try to tackle on too much in one day. I remember the first time I took London out of the house by myself. I literally just walked down the street to the grocery store. But I felt so accomplished and so much more confident in my new role. So take pride in those little moments and trust that soon enough, you’ll be nursing on a plane, pumping the other side, and eating lunch all at the same time (true story. lol)

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At the end of the day, you’re going to find out what works for you and your family, despite all of the advice people will try to give you. Just smile and nod so that they can end their rant about why you should use one brand over another and keep doing you! xx

 

Embracing the “Mom Bod”

Fashion

It’s been 10 weeks since I gave birth. The initial weight loss that happens after delivering your baby has long gone and I’ve hit the “now you actually have to exercise” phase of my postpartum journey. And boy, it hasn’t been easy.

I was the girl who ate anything and everything while I was pregnant. I told myself that it’s my first time and I could just lose the weight later. I didn’t factor in that it would take 8 weeks to finally feel recovered enough to exercise. Or that I would be busy taking care of a newborn. Or that I would just be too tired some days to even think about going to the gym. So I had a rude awakening 2 weeks ago when I stepped on the scale and realized those last 22 pounds weren’t going to come off on their own.

Maybe it was that moment, or the fact that I literally can only fit into stretchy pants, but I realized that I desperately needed to lose weight for the sake of my self esteem. I had reached a point that I dreaded getting dressed for an event because I knew how many outfits I would try on and how many things wouldn’t fit. I would end up in a bad mood (and late) every time I would go somewhere. It was Q who finally convinced me that what I needed was a shopping trip. And he was right! I know I want to lose weight and I know I won’t be this size forever, but I also need to be patient with myself. My body birthed a whole human and it’s going to take some time to get back to normal. I need to be able to keep loving myself and loving my body, no matter what number ends up being on that  scale. I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, and a reminder to you as well, because we all can use a little more self-love. So we went shopping (he even came with me!) and then had a little photo shoot to celebrate.

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5 Things That Happen When You Become a Parent

Motherhood

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Just like with pregnancy, there are a lot of changes that happen when you become a parent that no one really prepares you for. You leave the hospital with a tiny human and quickly realize your world is now completely about them. But there’s more. 

1. You’re now a “mom driver”.

B6B192AD-0895-4CC9-977F-9F02872F200C.gifEvery other car on the freeway becomes your enemy and you purposely drive in front of the worst ones so they can see your “baby on board” sticker. 

 

2. “Sleeping in” is waking up anytime after 5am.

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Even on nights when you’re baby-free, your body just isn’t used to sleeping until noon anymore.

 

3. Your kid is usually dressed better than you.

6119D10C-840F-4140-8EDE-B021482A86FA.gifThere just isn’t enough time in the mornings for both of us to look our best, so I take one for the team.

 

4. You talk about your kids nonstop.

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Every conversation starts with “we’re new parents” or “do you have kids?”

 

5. Going out just isn’t the same anymore.

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You get a babysitter and decide to take on the town, but quickly realize that you’d much rather be at home, snuggled with your little one, singing the itsy bitsy spider 99,000 times. And I guess that’s parenthood 🤷🏽‍♀️

Bumpdate: First Trimester

Motherhood

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If you’re reading this, it’s because I made it through one of the darkest and scariest times of a woman’s life-the first trimester. (Dun dun duuuuun). Let me take you back to the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had been on birth control for 6+ years and my fiancé and I were not planning to start a family for at least another 2 years.  So to say I was “surprised” is an understatement. I went through the typical stages post-peeing on a stick time: shock at those two life-altering lines, panic of how I’m going to have a baby and plan a wedding at the same time, and then the inevitable excitement of becoming a “mommy”. All of this followed by rapid google searching, since of course, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. The google searching ended up being a HORRIBLE idea. I read story to story of miscarriages, MISSED miscarriages, blighted ovums (WHAT), etc. By the end of the day, I was convinced something terrible was going to happen to my baby.

It’s a scary thing to be growing a tiny human inside of you not be able to peek in and make sure little one is doing okay. I was forced to breathe, stay positive, remind myself to trust my body, and most importantly- stay off baby forums. I remember thinking “how can I care about something so much, that I didn’t even realize I wanted more than a few weeks ago?” Needless to say, I was relieved when I hit the glorious 12 week mark. Of course, the worrying didn’t completely stop then, but it was a milestone I was happy to cross, as the chances of something going wrong decreased significantly. For the most part, 12 weeks also marked the end of the less-than-enjoyable symptoms that come along with pregnancy: nausea, fatigue, constipation, etc. I finally felt that I could relax and start to enjoy the wonders of pregnancy, as I entered what people refer to as the “honeymoon” stage- the second trimester.